Kids can be unpredictable, especially if they are distracted by classmates or electronic devices. Younger children especially may not be aware of the dangers of playing in or near the street while walking to or from school or the bus stop. Negligent drivers who don’t follow traffic laws can cause serious injuries or even death to an unsuspecting child.

If an irresponsible driver caused your child injuries through their failure to follow traffic laws, contacting a reliable personal injury attorney can help you recover fair compensation. Families of child pedestrian victims in Utah can contact Great West Injury Law to find justice.

School Zone Traffic Laws

Traffic laws call for drivers to always yield to pedestrians, even if they are not in a designated crosswalk. In addition, drivers must come to a complete stop when approaching any school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing.

Knowing the traffic laws and the potential risks to children and other pedestrians can help drivers avoid dangerous, potentially life-threatening accidents in school zones.

  • Reduced Speed

School zones are designed to protect children as they travel to and from school. A reduced speed limit in a school zone applies during the times shown on signs, even if no children are present. In Utah, the law prohibits drivers from reaching speeds over 20 mph in school zones.

These zones are often next to places where children congregate, such as bus stops, school entrances and exits, and school crossings. They can be busy with pedestrians at different times of the day, so drivers need to take extra care.

Penalties for speeding in a school zone are higher than elsewhere because of the increased risk to vulnerable road users like young children. Violating the speed limit in a school zone can result in a fine, points on your driving record, and increased insurance premiums. In Utah, driving 40 mph or faster in a school zone can mean a $525 ticket for violating the law. If a child is injured, the driver can also be held liable for the child’s medical bills and pain and suffering in a civil lawsuit.

  • Crossing Guard

Drivers should also be respectful of crossing guards. These individuals help keep children safe and should be treated courteously and patiently. In Utah, crossing guards are staffed by law enforcement, and drivers are required to follow their directions.

When approaching a school zone, drivers should check for signs with the posted speed limits. They should be ready to yield to pedestrians, follow the crossing guard’s signals, and never honk their horns unless it is absolutely necessary.

How to Drive Near Buses

Accidents still happen near school buses, and children are often the victims. That’s why it’s so important to drive safely in school zones. As a driver, it’s important to know the rules for driving near school buses to avoid getting a ticket and help keep kids safe.

Always yield to a school bus when its red lights are flashing. You must also be alert when approaching a stopped school bus. Children may get on or off the bus and not pay attention to traffic. It is never appropriate to pass a stopped school bus unless approaching the bus from the front when there is a median or physical barrier separating the opposing lanes. You must wait for the bus to stop flashing its red lights for you to proceed.

Give extra space to a school bus when overtaking it on the highway. School buses are larger than passenger vehicles, so they require more room to maneuver. They are also heavier, so they require more time to accelerate and decelerate as well.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle Your Claim

Exercising caution isn’t solely for school zones. Parks, playgrounds, bus stops, residential areas, and town squares are all areas where children may be playing. Drivers must be careful when driving through areas frequented by children and adolescents to avoid striking a distracted child.

Pedestrian accidents involving children can be exceptionally upsetting. Having to cope with the challenges of your child’s injuries while negotiating with insurance companies can be almost overwhelming. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to pay for medical expenses and other damages.

If you are a parent of a child injured by a car, you can contact the Utah child pedestrian injury lawyers at Great West Injury Law for a free consultation. Call us today and arrange to speak with our experienced attorneys.